Dei comes from a proud military family and is a retired Air Force officer herself. She’s currently living her real-life love story in beautiful Miami, Florida, with her soul mate and their four rambunctious boys while bringing to you multicultural romance, where love is color blind.
After working with Dei, I wanted to know more about this author and how she manages it all, especially after reading her latest novel, The Chaebol’s Wife, scheduled for release on February 26th and available now for pre-order. And she graciously agreed to sit down for an interview.
Dei, thank you so much for taking time out of your no doubt crazy-busy life to share something about yourself with us all. I have so many questions, but I promise to keep them brief and limited.
Growing up as a “military brat,” I can’t help but wonder when the writing bug first bit you. Did you always want to be a writer?
I remember wanting to be the first black female astronaut to travel to Mars. But I wasn’t much of a STEM girl. I also wanted to be a ballerina, a figure skater, an airman, and a writer. I guess two out of five isn’t bad. 😊
When I was eleven, my friend and I had a writing contest based on a prompt given to us by our English teacher. We wanted to see who could write the funniest story. After completing mine, I read it to my dad, who cracked up laughing. His reaction and support were all it took for me to strive to make writing a dream come true.
But I have to add that after reading Judith McNaught’s Something Wonderful, that writing bug really took form. I’ve read the book more times than I can count. It’s a beautiful romance, and after reading it the first time, I knew then that’s what I wanted to write. My best friend in high school and I loved that book so much that we spent our after-school hours writing a screenplay because we wanted so badly for that story to be on the silver screen. Who knew there would be the age of online streaming and that books like Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series could be made into movies that can be enjoyed by all? I’m still holding out for Something Wonderful.
Speaking of books you love, do you get much opportunity to read, and if so, who are your favorite authors?
If I’m not binge-watching Korean dramas, I’m reading romance novels. My favorite traditional published authors are Lisa Kleypas, Sophia Jordan, Julia Quinn, and I will always love Judith McNaught. I also have to mention my favorite self-published authors Theodora Taylor and Thayer King. I adore the way Thayer King breaks out of the box with her stories of romance. My favorite series of hers is Bioexpa Match, a futuristic world where scientists have figured out how to effectively match people with their soul mates. This series really should be on the big screen. Love it!
Do you recall the first book or novel you read?
I do. Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby, Age 8. I always loved reading. My mom used to work at a book company, and they would rip the covers from books and throw those books away. My mother saved what she could and would bring bags and bags home. I’d read those coverless books and get lost in every story. One of my favorites was We Hate Everything But Boys by Linda Lewis.
With all you’ve got going on, what inspires you to keep writing, and is it difficult to juggle such a busy life?
What inspires me are things of interest in my life. For example, I love Asian dramas, mostly Korean. I got hooked on them back in 2016 after a devastating miscarriage, and that’s when a plot bunny for The Chaebol’s Wife came to me. I simply had to write it. Little did I know that single plot bunny would multiply…well…like a rabbit, as I now have a series planned based on this one story. And being the mother of four boys, I enjoy writing stories about mothers finding love. Additionally, writing The Chaebol’s Wife was therapeutic and helped me to overcome that loss.
On top of being a wife, mother, and writer, I’m also a freelance editor, which gives me time for another passion, and that’s reading. Being an editor, I get to read the work of aspiring writers and help them to make their work the best it can possibly be. But yes, it can sometimes become a bit too much. When that happens, I take a break from editing so I can focus on writing.